In what will be the final twist of the knife in Manchester United‘s back, Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted after the England-Portugal quarter-final that he is keen to move away from Manchester United to Real Madrid, thus confirming reports that have linked him to Villar Mir and confirming the Marca interview.
A little history: On 27th June, the Spanish daily Marca published quotes attributed to Ronaldo that showed the Manchester United number 7 to be interested in playing for Real Madrid and to having talked to presidential candidate Villar Mir about possibly signing for Madrid if Villar Mir won the elections. Manchester United, fans and club alike, were incensed, and as the drama unfolded Manchester United hit back strongly over Marca’s claims.
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Matters become worse in the next two days with Alex Ferguson having to make a statement saying that there were no problems with Ronaldo and that Ronaldo would be back with Manchester United next season. The telling point in all this was the silence from the Portuguese winger himself, who has waited till after a clash with his team mates before confirming those reports.
Manchester United Reaction
The reaction to Ronaldo’s actions is bound to swift and harsh. Remember, Ronaldo only signed a contract extension back in November, and despite being one of the stars in the last three years for Manchester United, he has always been considered as an unfinished product with the perception amongst the fans being that Manchester United had invested a lot in him but as yet seen very little.
This lack of loyalty will not endear him to United fans, who were already pretty angry last night after Ronaldo appeared to play a part in Wayne Rooney getting a red card in the England-Portugal quarter-final. By now it does not matter if it was the referee’s mistake or Ronaldo’s – the jury will be out and Ronaldo will be solely to blame.
Ferguson and United, by making their statements public early, have made sure that public reaction to Ronaldo’s admission will be ugly and negative. England fans were already beginning to hate him, and with Manchester United fans on his back it is doubtful that Ronaldo will ever return to United colours.
News From Real Madrid
It’s election day in Real Madrid, with Villar Mir and Calderon the two favourites to win. Villar Mir has already promised Arsene Wenger along with Cristiano Ronaldo, and like we’ve seen before, while these situations always produce a few tall claims not all of them are untrue.
We’ll know pretty soon who wins the election, although now Ronaldo’s place at Manchester United looks in serious doubt. Ferguson has not taken kindly to such disloyalty in the past, and while United would want to secure a high price for the winger there is little possibility of him staying on at Old Trafford.
What will irk United fans most is that they have supported him through his promising, flashy but ultimately fruitless three years at the club. The fans have defended his antics and his tendency to spurn passing opportunities in order try shots himself (which he almost invariably fails to score from) by saying that in time he would come good. Ronaldo, along with Rooney, was also earmarked as the foundation for Ferguson’s rebuilding of the club’s fortunes.
Worse still, many look at Ruud van Nistelrooy’s distancing from club and coach as a direct result of a training ground argument between Nistelrooy and Ronaldo, in which both coach and assitant coach were known to back the young winger, with Ferguson going so far as to bench Nistelrooy for most of the end season. Ferguson and the fans will see this as a betrayal, and whether Ronaldo changes his mind or not is now not up for discussion – if he wants to leave United, it seems unlikely that Ferguson will try to convince the winger otherwise.
What will be especially worrying is how the Glazers react to this. Since they’ve taken over, Ferguson has probably had the worst year in office. The bustup with Keano, the RVN dispute, crashing out of the Champions League bottom of their group, losing 3-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and worse, not being able to sign any new players when rivals and even lesser clubs have been active in the transfer market.
It does not bode well for United, or Ferguson.